Happy New Year!

Yes, I know we’re well into January but, here at Nut Press, things are getting off to a gentle and relaxing start. Given how last year turned out, the squirrels are feeling skittish enough as it is and we don’t want to spook 2021 into doing anything silly. And, while I may have taken the Christmas cards down, the fairy lights are staying up. They’re reassuring and comforting and I need them to brighten gloomy January days.

One upside of the lockdown restrictions and my family not wanting to linger in shops even when they were open was that they ended up giving me books for Christmas this year. (Okay, I had to buy and wrap some of them myself but no matter. Books are books.) A good friend gave me Caroline Scott’s When I Come Home Again, Gareth gave me the third of Rupert Everett’s autobiographies and Romy Hausmann’s Dear Child in the German original Liebes Kind, and Mum treated me to The Secret Life of Books by Tom Mole, The Bilingual Brain by Albert Costa, Burning the Books by Richard Ovenden and The All True Adventures and Rare Education of the Daredevil Daniel Bones by Owen Booth. That little lot should help to see me through this latest lockdown.

I might not have been posting here but it doesn’t mean that the squirrels and I have been doing nothing. Well, okay, the squirrels haven’t been doing much besides protesting that Christmas extends into January this year and lazing on the sofa eating leftover nutty treats, just because… but I’ve been tackling my stacks and storage boxes, attempting to organise and catalogue ALL THE BOOKS.

Rediscovering old friends…

Armed with my phone and the LibraryThing app, I’ve gone through all seventeen storage boxes of books (17, though?! – I had no idea there were quite that many upstairs) and they’re now scanned in and catalogued against the box, bookcase or trolley where I can find them in future. This should help when I’m having a conversation about a book and want to refer to it, or even finding one to read, and hopefully means the end of buying duplicates. (Keep an eye out for upcoming giveaways where I try and offload some of those!)

This whole exercise has been far more fun than I expected it to be and I’ve loved rediscovering some of the book treasure I own. I’m excited about getting down to some reading and I’m hoping this heralds the imminent return of my reading mojo, sadly missing-in-action for most of last year.

I’ve also managed to cull some books, with those heading to friends post-lockdown, one of whom volunteers at a library. Their departure will create space for others currently without a shelf to call home, most of which are currently on the dining table after clearing all the stacks of books from my office floor, and any new additions this year. What?! Don’t look at me like that. Where did I even mention a book buying ban?

In addition to the books, Gareth also gave me three more Billy bookcases for Christmas. Much to his astonishment and dismay, I’ve already filled them. It’s wonderful having (most of) my hardbacks in one place and they look so good when all shelved together. (I may have been visiting them regularly to admire them.)

I need to finish sorting out my office and cataloguing the rest of the books downstairs but this has been a great project to take on in the New Year and I can’t begin to tell you how much more relaxed I am already. My office no longer feels as if it’s encroaching upon me behind my back, while I sit at my desk, and my head is clearer for imposing some sense of order on my ever-growing book collection. Being able to find a book in a couple of minutes, rather than in the last place I look after an entire afternoon of searching for it, is fantastic.

Over to you: get any good books this Christmas? And have you started 2021 with any book-related projects?